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AAIC: One Social Hour a Week in Dementia Care Improves Lives

Last Updated: July 17, 2017.

Just a small increase in social interaction benefits older adults with dementia and lowers health care costs, according to research presented at the annual Alzheimer's Association International Conference, held from July 16 to 20 in London.

MONDAY, July 17, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Just a small increase in social interaction benefits older adults with dementia and lowers health care costs, according to research presented at the annual Alzheimer's Association International Conference, held from July 16 to 20 in London.

The study included more than 800 dementia patients living in 69 nursing homes in the United Kingdom. Two staff members at each home were trained to engage in simple social activities with the patients. This included talking to them about their interests and decisions about their care.

The researchers found that just one hour a week of social interaction improved patients' quality of life and eased their agitation. This strategy also saved money compared to standard care.

"People with dementia who are living in care homes are among the most vulnerable in our society," study leader Clive Ballard, M.D., a professor at the University of Exeter Medical School in the United Kingdom, said in a university news release. "Our outcomes show that good staff training and just one hour a week of social interaction significantly improves quality of life for a group of people who can often be forgotten by society."

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